Are you preparing to study at a French university? Then you will need to pass the DELF (Diplôme d’Etudes en Langue Française) or DALF (Diplôme Approfondi de Langue Française) Exams. These are official qualification exams for French proficiency, which will determine how well you can communicate effectively in France and other French-speaking countries.

This exam plays a huge role in obtaining admission into a French university, and it can also determine if you qualify to receive a visa.

This article provides a comprehensive guide to DELF-DALF for overseas students who plan to study higher education in France or French-speaking countries. Read till the end.

What are DELF and DALF Exams?

Diplôme d’études en langue française (DELF)

Diplôme d’études en langue française (DELF), translated into English as Diploma in French Language Studies, is an exam taken by non-native speakers of French to test French proficiency. This is to test your ability to read, listen, speak, and write French. DELF Is organized and administered by the French Ministry of Education and reflects the six levels of the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (CEFRL).

International students planning to study in French-speaking countries are eligible to take this exam. However, there are four varieties of exams, designed for different levels of people. They include “DELF Prim” for Primary School students, “DELF Junior et Scolaire” for Secondary School students, and “DELF Tout Publics,” meant for adults.

The DELF exam can serve as part of a requirement for people looking to work in French-speaking countries. It is also used by administrative bodies, employers, and educational institutions. After passing the exam, you will be awarded a degree that is valid for life and accepted worldwide.

Diplôme approfondi de langue française (DALF)

Diplôme approfondi de langue française (DALF), translated into English as Diploma in Advanced French Language, is a state diploma issued by the French Ministry of Education to officially certify that you can write and speak French at an advanced level.

You are eligible to take the exam if you are an adult not from a French-speaking country but need certification proving your French-speaking proficiency, which would be required for educational, professional, personal, or immigration purposes.

DALF is administered by France’s Ministry of Education, and it is divided into two levels, which are C1 and C2. This level closely resembles the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (CEFR), with Level C2 being the highest level, indicating proficiency and mastery in French.

Once you pass the exam, you will be issued a degree certificate that is valid for life. It is also crucial that you prepare well for this exam because if you cannot pass it on the first try, you have to wait 30 days before you can try it again.

It is also a good idea to take DELF, which is suitable for beginners, before trying DALF, which is much more advanced.

What are the Benefits of Taking DELF and DALF?

For students looking to study in France or any French-speaking country, a DELF or DALF certificate is the most acceptable way to prove your ability to communicate in French. The certificate would also contribute positively to your application as special attention is paid to non-french citizens with it. Taking DELF and DALF can also grant you access to several scholarship opportunities the French government offers.

Having DELF or DALF certificates also enhances your job application with international companies looking to hire French speakers in sectors like teaching, fashion, tourism, luxury, hospitality, import & export, etc.

The best part is that you hardly need any requirement to apply, the diploma never expires, and they are independent of each other, meaning you can take DELF A2 even if you didn’t pass DELF A1.

When and Where to Take DELF and DALFF?

The test is usually taken at the designated examination center. However, the date of the test and the exact location depend on the country you reside. You can visit the examination center on the official website to select the venue of your choice.

The location, phone number, and email address of the examination centers in your country are also available on the website. You can contact them for further information on the requirements and how to get to the location.

Cost of Taking the DELF and DALF

The cost of taking the DELF and DALF would usually be between $125 to $300, depending on the level you choose and the country you reside. For Instance, If you are taking the test in New York, DELF A1 costs $135, A2 costs $145, B1 costs $155, and B2 costs $190. On the other hand, DALF C1 costs $245 while C2 costs $245.

You will also be required to pay an administrative fee of $5 in addition to the exam fee. You should also note that both the exam and administrative fees are not refundable. Any candidate who would like to transfer their exam session would be required to pay a fee of $50. However, a transfer request can only be made before the registration deadline.

Overview of DELF-DALF Scoring System

The DELF examinations are divided into four parts. The first part is the listening section, where the candidate listens to a series of recordings, and then is asked to answer some questions based on what they heard. The second part is the reading section, where candidates will read a short piece of writing, and then answer questions based on what was read.

The third part is the writing section, where the candidate’s writing skills will be tested. The writing task in this section depends on the DELF level. The final part is the speaking section, where the candidate is expected to have an interactive conversation with the examiner.

Each of these sections has a mark of 25, which will bring the entire exam to a total of 100. Candidate must score 50 out of 100 to pass the exam. This means that candidate must score at least 15 out of 25 in each section, to have a chance of scoring 50 and above. Which is usually the recommended score to get admitted into a program at a university.

On the other hand, DALF is taken at two levels, C1 and C2. Each level has different sections. C1 examination is divided into four: Oral comprehension, Written comprehension, Written production, and Oral production.

Each section is graded over 25 to make a total of 100 points. To pass DALF C1, you are expected to score 50, which is usually the recommended score required by several universities.

While DALF C2 is divided into two sections: Oral comprehension & production, and Written comprehension & production. Each section is graded over 50, making a total of 100 points. Candidates are also required to score a minimum of 50 points to pass. This is also the recommended score for many universities.

In addition, both DELF and DALF levels A1, B1, A2, B2, C1, and C2 correspond and are based on the Common European Framework of Reference (CEFR), making it a worthy measure of proficiency.

Check out this table for each DELF-DALF Level linguistic competence.

CEFR DELF-DALF Level Linguistic Competence
A – DELF DELF A1 Know how to introduce oneself, ask and answer basic questions, and understand common expressions.
DELF A2 Know how to start and contribute to a conversation about different everyday topics.
B – DELF DELF B1 Know how to recount events or explain past experiences.
DELF B2 Can express oneself or opinion. And also explain a situation or persuade someone.
C – DALF DALF C1 Understand how to discuss complex topics like an advanced speaker.
DALF C2 Understand how to deal with long and demanding texts and more experienced conversations.

Overview of DELF and DALF Test Structure

The DELF-DALF test structure comprises different sections designed to test the candidate’s proficiency and mastery of the French language. DELF A1, B1, A2, and B2 are made of four parts: Listening, Reading, Writing, and Speaking.

Check out this table for each DELF-DALF Level test section and their description.

DELF-DALF Level Test Section Description
DELF A1 Listening, Writing, Reading, and Speaking DELF A1 test structure is divided into four parts, which are Listening, Writing, Reading, and Speaking.In the Listening section, candidates will listen to about three recordings of regular things happening in their environment, which will be played for three minutes. Then, they will answer the question that follows and must complete this section in 20 minutes.The reading section for DELF A1 will see the candidate reading three short texts, followed by the questions, which could be ticking, true/false, or multiple choice. This section must be completed in 30 minutes.The writing section requires candidates to fill out a form that requires personal information and write simple words about regular topics. This must be completed in 30 minutes.The speaking section involves the candidate having conversations with the examiner. Candidates are given 5 to 7 minutes and 10 minutes to prepare. This means DELF A1 must be completed in approximately 1 hour and 20 minutes.
Listening, Writing, Reading, and Speaking DELF A2 test structure is divided into Listening, Writing, Reading, and Speaking.In the listening section candidate, will listen to about two recordings and then proceed to answer questions which must be completed in 30 minutes.While in the Writing section, candidates have two tasks. The first is to describe an event, while the second is to write an expression to receive an invitation, application, etc. This should be completed in 30 minutes.In the reading section of DELF A2, candidates are made to read a short text and are expected to answer the questions in 25 minutes.
DELF B1 Listening, Writing, Reading, and Speaking The test structure for DELF B1 is also divided into four parts.The first part is the reading section. In this section, the candidate will be given a long text of about 1000 words to read, and then proceed to answer the questions, this section must be completed in 45 minutes.The second section is the listening section, here, candidates will listen to a recording of about 6 minutes before proceeding to answer the questions. This section must be completed in 25 minutes.The third section in DELF B1 is the writing section. Here, candidates will be asked to express their personal opinions on a situation through an article, letter, or essay, which must be completed in 45 minutes.The fourth part is the speaking section. Candidates will have an interactive conversion, to test their speaking ability. They will be given 15 minutes with 10 minutes of preparation. This means DELF B1 must be completed in about 115 minutes.
Listening, Writing, Reading, and Speaking The test structure for DELF B2 is divided into four parts as well.The first part is the Listening section. In this section, the candidate will listen to two recordings. The first is played twice, while the second recording will be played once. All this will be done in eight minutes. Before proceeding to answer the questions. This section will be completed in 30 minutes.The second part is the reading section. Here, the candidate will read a text of about 1000 words, and then proceed to answer the questions. This section runs for 60 minutes.The third part is the writing section. The candidate is expected to reply to messages, write their personal opinion on a subject and defend it, etc. This part must be completed in 60 minutes.The last part is the speaking part. Candidates will have guided conversion, role play, and exchange information with the examiner. This will have 20 minutes with 30 minutes of preparation to complete this section.
DALF C1 Listening, Writing, Reading, and Speaking DALF C1 test structure is divided into four parts.The first is Oral comprehension, which tests the communication skills of the candidate, this part must be completed in 40 minutes.The second is Written comprehension, which must be completed in 50 minutes.The third part is Written Production. Here, the candidate must be able to write a well-detailed essay in 2 hours 30 minutes.The fourth part is Oral production, where candidates discuss their presentation before a jury. This section is done in 30 minutes, with 1 hour of preparation time.
Listening, Writing, Reading, and Speaking The DALF C2 test structure is divided into two parts.The first part is Oral comprehension and production. Here, candidates will present and discuss with the jury, after listening twice to a 15-minute recording. This section is done in 30 minutes, with 1 hour of preparation time.The second part is Written comprehension and production. Here, candidates compose a structured text of up to 2000 words based on a file of documents. This section must be completed in 3 hours 30 minutes.

Ways to Prepare for DELF-DALF

1. Prepare an effective study plan

Having an effective study plan is key to acing your DELF-DALF exam. Select a time of the day and a place you would like to study.

Have a study guide highlighting the things you must study and take them one after the other. Reading and speaking in bits can help you cover a large portion of your study before the exam date.

2. Get familiar with the test format

Studying the test format and structure will help you familiarize yourself with the exam’s essential aspects. It will also help you answer questions before the time runs out. While studying it, identify the ones that are easier for you and pay more attention to the ones that look more challenging.

3. Start practicing

Practice makes perfect, and since the test has listening, reading, writing, and speaking sections. You should listen to many French programs, write in French even if you don’t have to, speak French with friends online, and read a lot of literature and articles in French.

4. Use a lot of study materials and resources

There are free online books, books, websites, and apps that will be very helpful in learning French. Using these resources will give you a lot of insight into the French language’s structure, pronunciation, and grammar application.

Universities and Institutions Accepting DELF-DALF

When Applying to a French University. It is important to know the accepted DELF-DALF score. This will help you prepare well for the exam and ensure you meet their acceptance criteria.

University Name City / Location DELF-DALF Score Accepted
1. Sorbonne University Paris, France DELF B2, DALF
2. École normale supérieure de Lyon Lyon, France DELF B2, DALF C1
3. Université de Paris Paris, France DELF B2, DALF C1/C2
4. ENS Paris-Saclay Paris-Saclay, Fraace DELF B2, DALF
5. Le Mans University Le Mans, France DELF B2, DALF
6. Columbia University New York, USA DELF B2, DALF C1
7. Université de Bretagne Occidentale Rennes, France DELF B2, DALF C1/C2
8. Université PSL Paris, France DELF B2, DALF C1
9. University of Ottawa Ontario, Canada DELF B2, DALF C1/C2
10. Aix-Marseille Université Marseille, France DELF B1, DALF

Preparing to take the DELT-DALF test requires a lot of preparation. You need to be familiar with what the test is about, the structure and levels, the scoring systems, the accepted scores for different universities, and the necessary ways to ace the exams. Attempting the DELF test first is also a great idea because it is much simpler than the DALF test.

We hope this Complete Guide to DELF-DALF will help you prepare for your studies abroad! Visit our Europe Scholarships Page for more information about European universities and scholarship opportunities!

About the Author: Hyun Lee

Hyun is the founder at Global Scholarships. He has received a full-tuition scholarship at Birmingham-Southern College as well as $1,000 Burger King Scholarship for his undergraduate degree and has been offered a fully funded scholarship consisting of tuition, living stipend, and health insurance for computer science Ph.D. program at North Carolina State University. Read more about his scholarship journey here.

Share this article via